The Gift of Your Talents

The Gift of Your Talents

In the classic holiday movie It’s a Wonderful Life, Jimmy Stewart played the role of a small town young man whose greatest ambition was to leave for the big city at his earliest opportunity to seek his fortune. When fate seemed to have other plans for him, he grew despondent and felt hopeless. A guardian angel named Clarence was sent to give Jimmy Stewart’s character a gift: to see what life in the small town would have been like had he never been born. As you might imagine, the world deprived of his talents was a totally different, and much darker and desolate, place.

Although this story was fiction, its message is both real and relevant. Each person is born with talents that she/he is free to share or to hoard. When people share their talents, the world literally becomes a different place. Those who hoard or hide their talents deny the world the benefit of their gifts.

Although we may have been led to think otherwise, each of us has the power to share our talents with others. The various “pieces” that coalesce to make us unique individuals (e.g., personality, values, how we view the world) are a combination of nature and nurture –– i.e., some came to us genetically, while others through choices we have made, consciously or unconsciously. For those who have been led to believe that their talents either are non-existent or not worth sharing, I have news for you: you are mistaken. For those who need some suggestions, here are three ways you can consciously change your mindset so you are able to share your talents with others rather than hoard or hide them.

  1. Some people believe that they are in control of important elements of their lives, whereas others think that other people or things are in charge. While we may have a predilection one way or the other, it’s not set in concrete: we can change it. Skeptics need look no further than the dramatic changes occurring right now in the Middle East. People who long have accepted life under dictatorships and repressive regimes suddenly are realizing that they can choose to take control of their own destinies. You can as well. Stop believing that people and things outside of you are in charge of how you live your life. Start taking an active role in setting your own course.

  2. People tend to view the world in one of two ways. Using the proverbial glass as a metaphor, some people see the glass as half empty while others see it as half full. The former seek out and concentrate on the difficulties and obstacles that they encounter in life, while the latter find opportunities in those challenges. Whether you choose to focus on obstacles or opportunities, you will find them. It’s your choice.

  3. We also have choices about how we experience life. We can select healthy alternatives that support us and enable us to seize our destiny and share our talents, or we can opt for victimhood. While some people would have us believe that they are victims of circumstances beyond their control, they are sadly mistaken. While it is true that there are some things in life over which we have no control, it also is true that we always get to choose how we experience whatever comes our way. So really it is your choice: a healthy life in which you share your talents freely, or victimhood, which not only hurts you, but deprives others of your talents.

These are just a few of the ways that you can clear the perceived obstacles that prevent you from sharing your talents with the world. Although making these mindsets a part of who you are may require some effort and practice, the payoff is tremendous. The only person standing in the way of your experiencing your “Wonderful Life” is you. And you can choose to get out of the way.

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.

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